Unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed

G Millward made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

It appears that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) class people on unpaid workfare-style programmes, as being employed for the purpose of the government statistics that show the number of people in work.

Can you,

1) Confirm that this is correct and if it is,

2) Explain why people on unpaid workfare-style programmes are not paid National Minimum wage.

Yours faithfully,

G Millward

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP IGS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear G Millward,
 
Please see the attached letter regarding your Freedom of Information
request.
 
Thank you.
 
IGS Freedom of Information Team
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed'.

I am at a loss as to what description of these "schemes" would suffice for DWP purposes.

It is quite clear from the link below, that the Labour MP, Conservative MP and the Director General of the Office for National Statistics ALL refer to these "schemes" as WORKFARE STYLE PROGRAMMES.

Please now deal with my original request in light of this information.

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=...

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

Yours faithfully,

G Millward

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
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information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.
 
[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...
 

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

*** SECOND REQUEST ***

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed'.

My original request was made on 31/12/13 and I received an auto acknowledgement informing me that my request would be responded to within 20 working days.
As that time has now passed, will you please either;

1) respond in full to my original request, or
2) let me know the reason for the delay and when I can expect to receive a response.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

Yours faithfully,

G Millward

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.
 
[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...
 

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Dear DWP IGS FOI,

I am disappointed to note that despite issuing a second request for an internal review, aside from an auto acknowledgement, there has been no response to my request.
As the time limits have been exceeded by the department, please note that I have written to the Information Commissioners office, to inform them of the breach of the Freedom of Information Act.

Yours sincerely,

G Millward

DWP IGS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear G Millward,
       
Please see the attached letter regarding your Freedom of Information
request. Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding.
Thank you.
 
IGS Freedom of Information Team
 
 

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

Thank you for your recent response to my request as a result of my contact with the Information Commissioner.

Your apology for the delay in your response time is accepted.

Ref 2013-IR910/2014-IR51

I have read your response and I make the following comments;

I don't wish to labour the point, but I am confused. On the one hand you state that claimants are classed as workers for the purpose of employment statistics purposes (even though the "participants" are not gainfully employed)and then on the other hand, you seem to be saying that they are exempt from National Minimum Wage (NMW) regulations and all the protections those regulations afford the "worker" or whatever the DWP would like them to be called.
With respect, you have not answered why, if the individual is not classed as an employee, are they included on the statistics and counted as "in work" they are after all not receiving a "wage" but continue to receive JSA/ESA.
I am afraid, your explanation, despite it being a long time coming, makes no sense.

I believe your explanation to be inadequate and I would ask that you pass this response to a Senior Executive Officer (SEO) or above for their attention and ask them to reply to me.

Regards

G Millward

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.
 
[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...
 

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DWP IGS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear G Millward,
Please see the attached files regarding your Freedom of Information
requests.
 
Thank you.
 
IGS Freedom of Information Team
 
 

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G Millward left an annotation ()

Sooooo..... an FoI request to the Office for National Statistics it is then (ever get the feeling you're being given the run around!)

Dear DWP IGS FOI,
Some time ago I made a request - see link here https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

The DWP advised me to direct my request to the Office for National Statistics(ONS), who in turn advised me to contact the Labour Force Survey(LFS) See link for details

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/v...

Both of these organisations seem to suggest that it is DWP who are in a position to respond to my request.

Will you please now respond to my original request.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

Yours sincerely,

G Millward

JayneL left an annotation ()

The Stamina required to get an answer from DWP is ridiculous - makes a mockery of the timescales, if not the whole notion, with these silly games

G Millward left an annotation ()

I agree Jayne... but I am determined to get an answer

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed'.

I have not yet received an acknowledgement to my request.
As I feel that sufficient time has elapsed for you to respond/acknowledge my request, please advise me of the current progress of my request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

Yours faithfully,

G Millward

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.
 
[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...
 

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DWP IGS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

 
Dear G Milward,
 
Apologies for the delay in acknowledging your Internal Review request
which was received on 13 October 2014. It has been logged and your
reference number is FOI 2014-IR514. You should receive a response by 5
December 2014.
 
Thank you,
 
Statistical Services Freedom of Information Team
 
 
 
 
 

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G Millward left an annotation ()

Nearly a year later and no further forward.

However, I note that my query is now being dealt with the "statistical team"
It will be interesting to see what (if any) comments they make regarding the ONS and LFS who BOTH advised me to direct my query back to the DWP!

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed'.

I refer to my request (FOI 2014-IR514)

In your letter to me, dated 4 November 2014, you stated that I would receive a reply by 5 December 2014.
I have not yet received a response from you.

Your attention is drawn to the ICO guidelines regarding response times

https://ico.org.uk/for_organisations/gui...

Will you please now respond to my enquiry or alternatively, let me know the reason for the delay and when I can expect to receive a response from you.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

Yours faithfully,

G Millward

G Millward left an annotation ()

So once again the DWP flagrantly flout the ICO published guidelines.

If no response is received within the next 48 hours, then I will of course have no option other than to bring the matter to the attention of the ICO.

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.
 
[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...
 

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References

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1. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

DWP IGS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear G Millward,
 
Please see the attached file regarding your Freedom of Information
Internal Review request.
 
Thank you
 
Statistical Services Freedom of Information Team
 
 
 

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G Millward left an annotation ()

Well, 29 months after making my original request, the DWP have quite spectacularly skirted the issue and have not answered the question.

They have been obtuse and have employed delaying tactics. If they were as vigorous in dealing with actually helping JSA claimants get into proper work as they have been in "dealing with" this FoI request, then the employment statistics would look a lot healthier.
Anyway, the top and bottom of it, is that I know, you know and the DWP know that "workfare" or whatever they want to call it is tantamount to slavery.
As I appear to have hit an impasse with the DWP, I propose writing to my MP, Jo Stevens (LAB) Cardiff Central to make her aware of this issue.

DWP IGS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear G Millward,
 
Please see the attached file regarding your Freedom of Information
Internal Review request.
 
Thank you
 
Statistical Services Freedom of Information Team
 
 
 
 

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Trevor Roberts left an annotation ()

A spectacular failure by DWP, ONS and surprisingly ...The ICO !